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To: California State University, Fresno
Fossil Free Fresno State
We call on Fresno State to take a principled stand and immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.
Why is this important?
Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more. In this last year alone, our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50 billion in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years.
Locally, the continuing rise in temperatures and carbon emissions will have serious repercussions for the Central Valley. Agriculture is the backbone of Fresno County’s economy. It brings $3.8 billion into the local economy and employs 20% of the workforce. If temperatures continue to rise, it will be devastating to Fresno County’s economy. Fresno has the second worst air quality in the United States. Nearly 75,000 out of Fresno’s 900,000 residents have asthma and another 25,000 have chronic bronchitis—a rate 3 times higher than the national average. The prevalence of asthma in the U.S. has quadrupled over the last 20 years, paralleling the increase in carbon dioxide emissions.
As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Fresno State to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Fresno State will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the well-being of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.